What Did Jesus Mean When He Said We Should Hate Our Family (Luke 14:26)?

The following is a transcribed Video Q&A, so the text may not read like an edited article would. Scroll to the bottom to view this video in its entirety.   

It really is Semitic hyperbole. It is a way of getting a point across in a way that we can understand it. In other words what Jesus is saying there is that “If you are going to come to me you come with no holds barred. It’s all me. It’s not me plus something else.” He’s not telling us to hate your family. To hate our family would be to disregard what the Bible basically teaches about family relationships. It means in comparison to the way you love me your love for your family would almost seem like hate, if that makes sense. It’s just hyperbole.

What Does Jesus Mean in Luke 14:26?

Hate in Scripture is often interchangeable with “choosing” someone over another. Romans 9:13 is an example of this: “Just as it is written: ‘Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated’”.

Jesus instructs us to hate our own life by choosing God over ourselves. “Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (John 12:25).

The Apostle Luke stresses, “However, I consider my life worth nothing to Me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace” (Acts 20:24).

Again, Jesus emphasizes, “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:37).

To read more from this devotional, see Does Jesus Really Want You to Hate Your Family? (Luke 14:26) - Your Daily Bible Verse by Lynette Kittle

Photo Credit: Unsplash/Kevin Delvecchio